Black African refugees in Egypt are frustrated by ongoing racism and discrimination, particularly as they witness the assistance given to Arab refugees, the pan-Arab Aljazeera network reports.
Sources told the network that they have few rights in Egypt. “Even if you’re a recognized refugee, and you have a blue card, you have no right to medical treatment, no right to education, no right to work,” NGO programmer Christopher Eades explained.
Aid worker and refugee Yagoub Hamdan told Aljazeera, “When there was an influx of African refugees, there was no attention from the NGOs.” But when Syrian refugees began to arrive, he said, the United Nations took notice, and built camps for them.
“Why did they do that for Syrians, when we had the same problem?” he asked.
Other aid workers confirmed that Syrians and other Arab refugees had been given places in Egyptian schools, while refugees from sub-Saharan Africa had been told that there were no available spaces in schools.
Others reported encountering blatant hostility, such as messages telling them to “get out of the country” and threats.
In recent years, African Muslim refugees in Egypt increasingly began fleeing to Israel, which provides illegal entrants with several social services. High crime among Sudanese and Eritrean migrants, particularly high-profile incidents of violent rape and anti-Semitism, led to a backlash against Israeli policy.
In recent months the government completed a border fence that has contributed to a massive drop in illegal entry from Egypt.